My interest in Leicestershire history saw me spend over twenty years researching my family tree, in the process discovering that I am related through my maternal line to great grandfathers who were Freemen of the Town of Leicester, and through my paternal line to Tom Norman, the showman who exhibited Joseph Merrick, this led to in-depth research into the Merrick and Potterton families, and life in Leicester at the time Joseph was growing up.

​I worked as a Verger at Leicester Cathedral for four years and during the week of Richard III's reburial I worked as part of the floral team responsible for the displays inside and outside the Cathedral assisting Royal florist Rosemary Hughes.

There is one memory I will take away from my experiences at Leicester Cathedral and that was walking the Royal procession, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip into the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday in 2017.

As well as local radio interviews and newspaper articles relating to my research on Joseph Merrick, in April 2018 I appeared alongside Michael Portillo in his new documentary series 'Hidden History of Britain' aired on Channel 5.

​In April 2019 I discovered the final resting place of Joseph Carey Merrick. Although Joseph's skeleton is at the Queen Mary Medical College in London, Joseph's remains had a Christian funeral and burial at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium. In June 2019, the officials at the cemetery placed a brass plaque on Joseph's grave. This discovery lead to a BBC Inside Out documentary on the discovery which further led to a campaign to raise money to have a statue erected of Joseph Merrick in his hometown of Leicester.

I am available for talks on Joseph Merrick as well as talks and tours on Leicester and its history.


If you would like to book me for a talk, help with research or a tour of Leicester please use the contact form and get in touch.

Member of Historical Writers' Association


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© 2018 Joanne Vigor-Mungovin

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